Handoff to Lane Kiffin; announcement likely Monday

Oakland Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin, center, talks with Oakland Raiders quarterback Josh McCown (12) during their NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 4, 2007.

Photo by Paul Sakuma / AP Photo

Oakland Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin, center, talks with Oakland Raiders quarterback Josh McCown (12) during their NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 4, 2007.

New Oakland Raiders coach Lane Kiffin tosses the football around during morning workouts at the team's training camp Saturday, July 28, 2007, in Napa, Calif.

Photo by AP Photo / Dino Vournas

New Oakland Raiders coach Lane Kiffin tosses the football around during morning workouts at the team's training camp Saturday, July 28, 2007, in Napa, Calif.

Did UT make the right choice in Lane Kiffin as football coach?

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  • Former Oakland Raiders coach
  • Age: 33
  • 2007 salary: $2 million
  • Highlights: Trojans averaged 49 points, 579 yards a game in 2005, Kiffin’s first year as offensive coordinator - of course that was with Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, LenDale White and Dwayne Jarrett. Youngest head coach in NFL history when hired by Oakland at age 31.
  • Career record:5-15 (NFL)
  • Notable stops: Assistant - Fresno State (1997- 98), Southern Cal (2001-04); Offensive coordinator - Southern Cal (2005-06); Head coach - Oakland Raiders (2007-08).
  • Why He’d Work:Background in NFL helps in recruiting. USC finished with No. 1 rated recruiting class each of his three years as recruiting coordinator. Son of longtime NFL coach Monte Kiffin, whose connections could help put together a veteran staff.
  • Why He Wouldn’t: Body of work could be too short to fully project how he might do in a return to college football. Winning percentage of .250 as a head coach isn’t easy to sell, either, but the Raiders were better under his watch.
  • Quotable: "Players don’t care about age. Players want to be coached. Great players want to get better, and that’s what we’re going to do." - Kiffin, according to the San Francisco Chronicle during a press conference introducing him as the Raiders’ head coach

The University of Tennessee has agreed in principle with Lane Kiffin to become the Vols’ next football coach, a well-placed source within the program has told the News Sentinel.

Barring any unforeseen snags, Kiffin will be announced in the coming days, likely on Monday.

The 33-year-old Kiffin will replace Phillip Fulmer who was forced to step down on Nov. 2. Fulmer’s last game will be tonight against Kentucky at Neyland Stadium.

Media reports surfaced on Wednesday that Kiffin had been offered the job. UT athletic director Mike Hamilton denied those reports at the time saying the search was ongoing.

While the timeline is unclear, Kiffin will become UT’s third coach since 1977.

Kiffin is coming off a tumultuous parting from the NFL’s Oakland Raiders in which both parties filed grievances with the league.

The Raiders fired Kiffin on Sept. 30 after compiling a 5-15 record in one-plus seasons. When he was hired by Raiders owner Al Davis in January 2007 at age 31 he became the youngest coach in the NFL’s modern history. His salary with the Raiders was $2 million per season.

Kiffin was an assistant at Fresno State from 1997-98 and Southern Cal from 2001-04 and the Trojans offensive coordinator from 2005-06.

Kiffin is known for running a pro-style offense with West Coast principles. He was also a part of a Southern Cal recruiting effort that proved it could reel in top talent nationwide.

By hiring Kiffin now, the Vols get a head start on salvaging the 2009 class, which was once ranked in the top 10 in the nation but has since lost four commitments and is on the verge of losing two more.

Kiffin and staff can visit prospects in their home next week and can host an official visit weekend on Dec. 6.

UT can host official visitors the following weekend. However, with the semester complete by then, few students and players will be on campus to host prospects and provide a true representation of campus life.

Kiffin has been assembling a staff for quite some time. Here are some possibilities:

* Monte Kiffin: Lane Kiffin’s father, Monte Kiffin is a highly respected defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Securing him could be tough. Kiffin reportedly makes $2 million annually for the Bucs.

* Ed Orgeron: Now a defensive line caoch with the New Orleans Saints, Orgeron coached with Kiffin at Southern Cal and furthered his reputation as one of the best recruiters in the nation during his tenure as coach at Ole Miss.

* Bill Callahan: Callahan has been fired from two coaching positions, with the Raiders and Nebraska, but is still considered an accomplished offensive coordinator. He is currently an assistant offensive head coach for the New York Jets.

* Doug Marrone: This name isn’t new to UT coaching searches. Now the offensive line coach for the Saints, UT has approached Marrone several times. He coached for the Vols in 2001. Marrone is also a candidate for the vacancy at Syracuse.

* Joe Whitt Jr.: Now the defensive quality control coach for the Green Bay Packers, Whitt was known as a strong recruiter as quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator at Louisville from 2003-06.

* David Reaves: Quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator at South Carolina, Reaves is Lane Kiffin’s brother-in-law.

* Chris Kiffin: The next coaching Kiffin, Chris Kiffin is Lane Kiffin’s brother and is a coaching intern at Nebraska.

* UT assistants: Several coaches from Fulmer’s staff could help provide a smooth transition and recruiting prowess. Defensive ends coach Steve Caldwell, receivers coach Latrell Scott and offensive line coach Greg Adkins have a proven history of recruiting top-notch talent.

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Comments » 669

tnbigg writes:

Y E S!!!

tnbigg writes:

Bring it on baby! New blood...new direction...intensity...victory...

BTCHSLPN writes:

FINALLY!!! WOO HOO I LIKE IT!!!!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to tnbigg:

Bring it on baby! New blood...new direction...intensity...victory...

Agree. Time to back this man to the hilt. This has been reported coast-to-coast.

Maybe Mike H will get as lucky as he did with Pearl albeit with Grunfields help.

New day, clean out the cobwebs, lets do it.

If they have time, beat Ky.

mlynn1 writes:

I'll support him, but a mighty big chance for someone with no track record.

BTCHSLPN writes:

i really think coach kiffin was the right choice.i believe he will prove alot of people wrong

smokyredbone writes:

Bring your Daddy young man!!!!!!!!!

vol2211insc writes:

Alright well I was dead set on brian kelly as all of you know but I WILL RALLY BEHIND THIS COACH. I think everybody else needs to do the same. Regardless of if you liked Fulmer he is gone. Now its time to support Coach Kiffin...he should bring oregeron and maybe his dad. They should be able to stop this recruiting nightmare under my estimation

GerryOP writes:

Yippee! Time to put this thing back together and start buildin' ... and winnin'!

SignalMtnVol writes:

Welcome, Coach Kiffin!

I've been hoping Hammy would bring this guy in since the Raiders let him go

PureOrange writes:

We just had a man elected President of the USA with no experience whatsoever and we are concerned about a football coach with no experience?

If he can recruit, motivate, show real emotion, hire good assistants and delegate, then I am willing to take a chance on him.

I would like to see Phil Fulmer stay with the university in some capacity because he has given a lot to our school.

FWBVol writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I have gone on record many times saying I supported Phillip Fulmer throughout the season, and at the time of his dismissal had hoped Hamilton had given him the rest of the year. But once the decision was made, I am a Tennessee grad and support my University.

To say that because I supported Phillip Fulmer means I'm against Kiffin is outrageous. I think Kiffin is an excellent hire and has potential to be a great coach at Tennessee for many years to come.

Like the rest of the Volunteer Nation, I can't wait for the press conference when it becomes official.

In the mean time, let's support CPF one last time and wish our Volunteers the best against the KY Cats tomorrow night.

smokyredbone writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

utfan4sh-t> I would be what you are calling a Fulmeraniac, if that means I supported CPF while he was the coach!!!! He is not the coach now so I am definately on the Kiffin bandwagon. I also am willing to give him a year or two to rebuild,which I'm certain your one of the idiots that will be crying on here wanting to fire Hamilton and Kiffin the first time he loses a freaking game!!! So just STFU and hope Kiffin is an ungrade from CPF! Go Vols!!!

shipperman#280095 writes:

Well guys, I think I have said that Kiffin was the man all along. maybe you will listen to me. I try to never post worng information

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Yippee! Time to put this thing back together and start buildin' ... and winnin'!

GerryO - I need you to go scout Western Ky.

TJ has agreed to check out UCLA and TnBigg wil analyze Ohio U.

We must hit the ground running.

I have ordered all new charts.

smokyredbone writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

Well guys, I think I have said that Kiffin was the man all along. maybe you will listen to me. I try to never post worng information

Still not official "Karnac the connected"!!!

vol88 writes:

I like the youth and the intensity he is supposed to bring. I do not like the 5-15 record as a HC. I realize Al Davis' circus may be to blame, but I was hoping for someone with more success at the top.

But, if that's who it is, then let's get it on. Go Vols!

philfan writes:

How many times do I have to remind people that Ogerron ran the Ole Miss team into the ground after Cutcliffe was fired for no valid reason. If I recall, Ole Miss' last year with Coach O was a perfect losing season in the SEC. Kiffin, I do like however. I have posted earlier that we needed a young coach with NFL experience. We now have a pretty boy coach to match the looks of Meyer, Richt, and Saban. Now, let us see if he can win a national championship and two SEC trophies,can recruit like Fulmer could, and who won about three fourths of his games. If not, you will definitely be hearing more from me.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

Well guys, I think I have said that Kiffin was the man all along. maybe you will listen to me. I try to never post worng information

Wright!

RemembertheAlamo writes:

in response to allVolinGA:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree....how can you trust someone who lies to make a good decision? I have no respect for Hamilton or any decision he makes.

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to smokyredbone:

Still not official "Karnac the connected"!!!

Trust me, it IS official. We just haven't been officially told yet. It has been official since last week

caskew#218608 writes:

Should this really be breaking news??

indianacurly writes:

allVol, what exactly has hamilton lied about?

vol2211insc writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Oh no man...when I said recruiting nightmare I meant losing players. Giles..Swearinger

vol88 writes:

philfan said "We now have a pretty boy coach to match the looks of Meyer, Richt, and Saban. "

We've come a long way from Majors, The Bear and Shug Jordan, that's for sure. From Johnny Walker to Johnny Depp, lol.

ncvol17 writes:

Adams - write an article detailing the search process from hiring a consultant to deciding on a coach. Wasn't this guy one of the 1st thoughts on the list? Why pay a consultant to direct us to the main candidate. Who interviewed along with him?

I'd be interested in the details of the decision. I'm not against him, just seems like we ran in a big circle to end up back at the beginning w/ Kiffin.

Hope he hits the recruiting trail quickly..

shipperman#280095 writes:

PD, if you want to know my source just email me. i will not tell everyone

burpee_von_rotweiler_IV writes:

I am going to wait for the official confirmation.

hotrodvol writes:

Just think he is probably more fired up than we are!
I hope Fulmer will give him all the help to transion to this new team, and help get recruiting contacts hooked up.
Both of these will be very important, for all of Fulmers' time here he will surely stick around a couple of weeks.

rclarkvols#224537 writes:

I think this is a hugh gamble. Kelly at Cincinnati in my opinion would be a better choice. Who knows if this guy is ready to be a head coach at the college level in the SEC. It could be a mistake that takes us 10 years to recover from

cltvol writes:

This guy's a pup. I believe CPF had to go, but I was hoping for a significant upgrade. I don't understand how this guy is going to excite everyone. If its a deal where he can peform well because of presumably great assistants, then we are back where we were 4 weeks ago, hoping for great assistants rather than a great HC.

RemembertheAlamo writes:

in response to BTCHSLPN:

i really think coach kiffin was the right choice.i believe he will prove alot of people wrong

He was probably the right choice at the Raiders two years ago also. Time will tell. It is going to be a long hard 5 years though. It always gets worse before it gets better.

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to cltvol:

This guy's a pup. I believe CPF had to go, but I was hoping for a significant upgrade. I don't understand how this guy is going to excite everyone. If its a deal where he can peform well because of presumably great assistants, then we are back where we were 4 weeks ago, hoping for great assistants rather than a great HC.

This guy has more genuine football smarts than Phil Fulmer ever had. I think he will pleasantly surprise a lot of people

cltvol writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

This guy has more genuine football smarts than Phil Fulmer ever had. I think he will pleasantly surprise a lot of people

Shipper, i'm willing to be convinced. How do you know this? Where has he proven it?

AppStVol writes:

Thank You Hamilton. Great Hire!!

blhvols#536551 writes:

in response to RemembertheAlamo:

I agree....how can you trust someone who lies to make a good decision? I have no respect for Hamilton or any decision he makes.

Why call him a liar. athere are certain things you can not comment on until a deal is in place and until Fulmers last game is over. Did your kid ever ask you if there was a Santa Claus? you said yes because there is a time to not answer a question truthfully and for a very good reason.

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to cltvol:

Shipper, i'm willing to be convinced. How do you know this? Where has he proven it?

Even his high school coach said that sometimes Lane knew more than his coaches. He is a master recruiter, a great speaker, and his dad is the best D coordinator out there. Dad may become our D man/ that would be awesome. I am however not sold on Coach O, I wish we could forget that part

rabidvol1998 writes:

in response to hotrodvol:

Just think he is probably more fired up than we are!
I hope Fulmer will give him all the help to transion to this new team, and help get recruiting contacts hooked up.
Both of these will be very important, for all of Fulmers' time here he will surely stick around a couple of weeks.

Coach will help the transition because he is a better man than all the haters who speak ill of him.

hotrodvol writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

This guy has more genuine football smarts than Phil Fulmer ever had. I think he will pleasantly surprise a lot of people

Ship, give us a run down of some of the asst. coaches, who is staying, and who is new coming in, if you've been told.

cainclifton23 writes:

Good!

Now lets get some primetime players in here

vol2211insc writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

But I'm right with you...we have good talent on this team. They just have to learn to maximize talent (Denarius Moore etc.) I Think Oku will stay on now. I think that we also land some more big name recruits and then get back in the top ten recruiting.

adamsck#591720 writes:

I am proud of Hamilton. Its gutsy to hire a young guy with limited head-coaching experience. And I'm proud of him for doing it. Only time will tell if its the right decision, but I am really hopeful (and believe) it will turn out to be the right hire at the right time. Congratulations to Mike Hamilton and all UT fans. We turned a page today as a football program.

shipperman#280095 writes:

Just because we said Fulmer needed to go, does not mean we hate him. i felt the same about Majors, and I don't hate him either

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to hotrodvol:

Ship, give us a run down of some of the asst. coaches, who is staying, and who is new coming in, if you've been told.

Few will stay, possibly Drayton and/or Scott. Providing Tampa Bay releases him, Monte will be the DC and Coach O will coach the D line. I do not personally care for Coach O

shipperman#280095 writes:

Coach kiffin will likely coach his own offense

tennesseeike writes:

If this is it,than this is it! He would have been one of my top 5 candidates,maybe not the first pick.
It does make sense to hire someone who is currently available in order to get our recruiting back on track in December.If he assembles a staff of quality we may get back on track soon with prospects.
I have always supported the VOLs regardless of the coach and will continue to do the same with Kif.
It is going to be a hard decision as to stay home tomorrow or drive 150 miles and sit in the cold rain to watch UT-UK.
I really love to stand and cheer the seniors running through the T. Will be a great defensive game GO VOLS>

hotrodvol writes:

in response to rabidvol1998:

Coach will help the transition because he is a better man than all the haters who speak ill of him.

I do think Fulmer will help, just like Chavis, I think maybe both were hurt at first, but they are both of UT, through and through.

cltvol writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

Even his high school coach said that sometimes Lane knew more than his coaches. He is a master recruiter, a great speaker, and his dad is the best D coordinator out there. Dad may become our D man/ that would be awesome. I am however not sold on Coach O, I wish we could forget that part

Concur on O. Time will tell this rest.

ncvol17 writes:

What's the down side to Oregeron? I've heard he is a great recruiter but not a great coach. Is he not a great HC or not a great position coach? Is he a close friend of Kiffin?

Is John Barleycorn his close friend? Does that have something to do with it?
What's the story on this guy in case he does come to UT?

MrBamSeydu writes:

Good deal, let's get him inked and start re-recruiting our players.

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